An Evening News vendor gets into the Christmas spirit by dressing as Santa Claus at his pitch outside Frasers department store in Princes Street Edinburgh, December 1986.

17 photos taking you back to Edinburgh in 1986

It was a memorable year in which the Commonwealth Games made an unexpectedly controversial return to the city, financial firms prepared themselves for the ‘Big Bang’, and one of our football clubs came within a whisker of lifting the Scottish league title. This was Edinburgh in 1986.

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 8:27 pm

Edinburgh had received plaudits far and wide for its handling of the 1970 Commonwealth Games just 16 years earlier, but the city’s second attempt at playing host would sadly be swept up in controversy.

Firstly, the Scottish capital had practically received the 1986 games by default, as no other city had wanted them.

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Then, in the run up to the summer event, a mass boycott was staged in response to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s refusal to impose sanctions on South Africa’s apartheid administration. From 59 potential participating nations, just 27 would make the trip to Edinburgh to compete in what would become unofficially known as the ‘Boycott Games’.

Moving over to professional football, Heart of Midlothian were in top form, with a league and cup double on the cards as the Gorgie side approached the final few games of the 1985/86 season.

Sadly for Jambos fans, the season would end in tears. The club surrendered their league title ambitions in improbably fashion within minutes of the final whistle of the last game of the season. A 2-0 loss away to Dundee, and Celtic’s 5-0 win at St Mirren consigned a broken Hearts to second place.

The icing on the dropped wedding cake arrived a week later, as the team’s 3-0 loss to Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup Final turned fervent hope into utter despair.

In other news, the city’s iconic canine statue Greyfriars Bobby was being placed back on his pedestal following a restoration; former New Town junk shop owner Madame Doubtfire was the focus of a new book that would later transform into a Hollywood film; while stockbrokers Bell, Lawrie Ltd were among the city’s financial firms preparing for the ‘Big Bang’, when the world’s stock market became computerised in October 1986.

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